Mountainous Norfolk and Other Hollywood Myths!

On the 25 April, 2001, the following article by Tom Utley, appeared in The Telegraph. Its title: “The mountains of Norfolk and other Hollywood myths”. In it he cited our County of Norfolk, England, UK – not Norfolk, Virginia in the States by the way. For that reason readers of this Blog, who might have missed the article the first time round, might like to read it for themselves. They may, or may not, agree with his views which were written some eighteen years ago. Apologies for a few minor tweaks to the article, and for leaving out the advertising and other extraneous matter which only detracts from an interesting article. Read on:

Hotel 1
The White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China.

Most of us will have felt a pang of sympathy for Claudia Neira. She was the American who arrived in Guangzhou, China, after an exhausting flight from New York, only to find that the White Swan hotel had no record of the booking that she had made over the internet. Further inquiries revealed that she had actually booked her eight nights at the White Swan hotel in Pickering, on the other side of the world, in North Yorkshire. The charitable among us will say that this was an easy mistake to make. The two hotels share a name, after all, and there is no telling where a website hails from on the internet.

Hotel 2
The White Swan in Pickering, North Yorkshire, England

But we should not be too quick to acquit Mrs Neira of stupidity. For there are a number of clues on the two websites to suggest the whereabouts of the hotels they advertise. There are photographs, for a start. The Chinese White Swan is shown as a 34-storey skyscraper towering over banyan gardens at the water’s edge on Shamian Island. The photograph of the Pickering White Swan shows a two-storey, 16th-century coaching inn, unmistakably English in appearance. The Chinese hotel boasts on its website of its specialised regional cuisine from Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai. The Yorkshire hotel is proud to announce that its chef makes his own sausages and bread. The address at the top of the English website is a bit of a giveaway, too: “Pickering, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AA” – Perhaps it was the “YO” that threw Mrs Neira: it does look vaguely Chinese!!

I blame the American film and television industry for Mrs Neira’s unhappy plight. For instance, the Disney corporation did set its £50 million thriller, ‘Reign of Fire’, in the mountains of Norfolk, England! Now, the one thing that most of us know about Norfolk, was summed up succinctly by Noel Coward in Private Lives: “Very flat, Norfolk”. Disney’s location scouts must have discovered as much, when they came to have a look at the County. But rather than admit that they got it wrong, they took their cameras off to the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, and went on pretending that the action of their film was set in East Anglia – and Norfolk in particular!

Flat Norfolk1
Norfolk, England is flat – very flat!

No wonder Mrs Neira was confused when she clicked on the Pickering White Swan’s website, thinking that she was booking a room in China. I suspect that, in the course of her childhood, she must have seen a Disney film set beneath the banyan trees by the banks of the Pearl River in North Yorkshire, in which an American hero defeated Attila the Hun’s air force. Or perhaps she saw a film set among the flat-capped, bangers – and – mash – scoffing pigeon-fanciers of Guangzhou, in which another American hero beat off an invasion from outer space. How is a poor New York girl to tell the difference between Europe and Asia, Pickering and Guangzhou, when she has been fed all her life on a diet of inane fantasy?

Some will say that all this is just a lot of fuss about nothing, and that it does not really matter; so what if Disney chooses to pretend that there are mountains in Norfolk? It is just a bit of escapism, they will say – poetic licence, and all that. Nor would it matter very much, if this were an exceptional case. But the fact is that nearly every single film churned out by Hollywood is based on some kind of lie. The world’s greatest democracy, and its only remaining superpower, has shut its eyes and blocked its ears to any consideration of the truth, retreating into a fantasy world of its own.

I am not thinking only of geography and topography. Hollywood takes the most breathtaking liberties with history, too. Braveheart, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Patriot, U 571, Michael Collins, Thirteen Days – just show any American film made over the past 20 [now 38] years that claims to have some basis in historical fact, and I will show you a pack of lies from beginning to end. Yet for most of the people who watch them – people with votes to cast for heaven’s sake! – these films are the only exposition of history that they will ever see.

The past troubles in Northern Ireland? A case of British imperialists oppressing a subject people. Simple as that. Cracking the Enigma code? All down to the heroism of the Yanks, wasn’t it? The Irish potato famine? An act of genocide by Queen Victoria. The Cuban missile crisis? A triumph of statesmanship for J F K.

How we all sneer at those Soviet propaganda films of the 1930s, showing happy peasants bringing in their abundant harvests in accordance with their glorious leader’s latest five-year plan. But Stalin’s film-makers have nothing to teach modern Hollywood about perverting or ignoring the facts to suit their masters’ ends. Hollywood cannot even tell the truth about what Americans call “interpersonal relationships”. If you believed the movies, you would think that every child who had ever breathed was a little ball of sugar-coated candy – capable of naughtiness, certainly, but just as cute as pie underneath. Even the villainess of ‘The Exorcist’ turned out to be a sweetie in the end.

They have shown Mrs Doubtfire repeatedly on television – as disgusting a piece of trash as anything produced by the porno industry in Los Angeles, made all the more revolting by Robin Williams’s brilliant, schmaltzy performance in the title role. The final scene showed our hero’s ex-wife and children wiping away tears of admiration as they watched him on television, dressed as an elderly woman, delivering a little homily about how kiddies shouldn’t feel bad when their parents divorced. Yeurrgh!! Life just isn’t like that. Never has been, never will be.

In his final refusal to accept reality, Walt Disney left instructions that his dead body should be frozen until medical science came up with a way of bringing him back to life. The time has surely come to thaw the old swine out, and put him on trial at the Hague for crimes against Western civilisation and the truth!

THE END

Sources:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/4261557/The-mountains-of-Norfolk-and-other-Hollywood-myths.html
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/england/yorkshire/north/hotels/the-white-swan-inn-hotel/
https://www.agoda.com/en-gb/white-swan-hotel/hotel/guangzhou-cn.html?cid=-217

COPYRIGHT NOTICE2

A Miscellaneous Georgian Easter!

By Joanne Major

We herewith present an (admittedly) random selection of Easter snippets from the early 19th century newspapers; a true Easter miscellany.

On the 25th March, 1802, The Treaty of Amiens, which signalled peace between Great Britain and the French Republic, was signed. It was also the signal for a proposed long school holiday for the Eton schoolboys. Do any of our readers know if the Prince of Wales’ request was granted?

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has interceded with the Head Master of Eton School for extending the Easter holidays of the Etonians a week longer than usual, in consequence of the Peace.

(Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 26th April, 1802)

The following year, with the truce breaking down, and Britain about to declare war on France, while a few of the nobility remained in London, battle-lines were being drawn elsewhere.

The fine weather, and the Easter holidays, scatter a few of our fashionables around the Metropolis, that they may inhale a little fresh air, preparatory to the suffocating routs and balls of May. The SALISBURYS are gone to Hatfield; the ABERCORNS to Stanmore; the DERBYS to the Oaks; the MORTON PITTS to Corfe Castle; Earl ROMNEY to the Mote, near Maidstone; Lord and Lady HOBART to Roehampton; and Lord HAWKESBURY will take the air between Combe and Downing-street, though he may not always be able to take his breath.

(Morning Post, 5th April, 1803)

Tuesday evening a most furious battle took place between a Chimney Sweep and a Jack Ass Driver, at a small fair which is held on the Easter Holidays at the end of Tottenham-court-road. After half and hour’s hard and obstinate fighting, both being beat to that degree that neither was able to stand, they were forced to give up any farther contest.

(Hampshire Chronicle, 18th April, 1803)

The Epping Hunt, or the ‘Cockney Hunt’ was traditionally held on Easter Monday.

Epping Hunt – Monday, at an early hour, the industrious sons of Spitalfields, Bethnal-green, and Whitechapel, disdaining the somnific powers, rose at the blush of Aurora, and prepared for the far-farmed Epping hunt, big with the fate of Cockneys. The road from town to the sportive scene was thronged by hunters of every description. Some were heavily dressed, and others as bare of covering as Meleager when he killed the Calydonian boar. The gallant troop displayed all the colours of gay Iris, and the sable bearings of a chimney-sweeper were often blazoned by the powderings of a barber’s apron. The cattle were composed of horses, asses, and mules, all high in bone and low in flesh; and the pack displayed every class of the canine species, from the bull to the lap-dog.After having regaled with copious libations of geneva, the motley group arrived at The Eagle, Snaresbrook, and other houses contiguous to the forest. A fine stag had been previously carried from a stable. His horns were sawed off, as usual, except the front antlers, which were braided with ribbands, and he was turned out to the mercy of his pursuers, near Buckets-hill. Finding himself at liberty, he dashed into Fairmaid Bottoms and sought refuge in the forest. The scent was then given, and off went the Cockneys,

“Like wind and tide meeting.”

In a few moments the ground was covered with hats, wigs, and the bodies of fat Citizens. Riders were seen looking for their horses, and horses for their riders. The vendors of gin and eatables, who stood prepared for the scene, immediately rushed in to dispose of their ware, and glasses of cordial consoled the downcast hunters for bruises and pain. Several Nimrods, who had pursued the sport of the day in taxed carts, were overthrown with the loss of their wheels, and the confusion which prevailed produced considerable mirth, at the expence of tailors, tallow-chandlers, weavers, and soap boilers, who had not been able to restrain the fury of their vicious kicking donkeys, and mischievous cart-horses. The stag, as usual, escaped from the fury of its unqualified pursuers, and many of the hunters who had lost their horses returned on foot to the Bald-faced Stag, to celebrate their lucky escape from the perils of the chace. After sacrificing at the shrine of the Jolly God, they returned to town.

(Oxford University and City Herald, 8th April, 1809)

At the other end of the social spectrum, Easter Sunday was a chance to promenade in Hyde Park, dressed in your finery, but beware an importune April shower!

HYDE PARK

Owing, no doubt, to the extreme coldness of the weather, the Park yesterday was not so prolific in the display of the Spring fashions as was expected, and is as usual on Easter Sunday. Custom, assuredly, is the arbiter of fashion; but the closer such adheres to nature the better. Long waists, and tight stays, although much worn, are not deserving of panegyric. Natures always looks most beautiful as herself, without capricious whimsicalities of stiff ornament. Among the newest articles in the female costume, we noticed the Polish dress, or pelisse, composed of slate coloured sarsenet; it is made open in front, with a gold bordering, and gold buttons. The bonnet, boots, and redicule, were made of the same materials. Among the fashionable equipages were those belonging to the Duchesses of GRAFTON and LEEDS; Marchionesses of WELLESLEY, LANSDOWNE, and HEADFORT; Ladies CASTLEREAGH, CLONMELL, KINGSTON, MEXBOROUGH, D. SMITH, MANSFIELD, and SEFTON. A sudden storm of hail and snow, about half-past three o’clock, destroyed all the fair beauties of the scene in a moment. The company, male and female, who were in the pedestrian promenade, scampered off at the first approach of the enemy, to seek refuge under any covering, however humble, so that it afforded them a secure retreat from the pitiless element. The Park was completely deserted during the after part of the day.

(Morning Post, 3rd April, 1809)

Easter was also a time for Balls; the ones held at the Mansion House in London being particularly spectacular:

The decorations and alterations making at the Mansion-house for the Easter ball are extremely splendid. A carpeting is made to imitate a gravel walk, and each side of the avenues leading to the Egyptian-hall will be ornamented with orange trees, and flowering shrubs.

The Prince of Wales has accepted the invitation of the Lord Mayor to dine and the Mansion-house on Easter Monday. This will be the first public visit ever made by his Royal Highness into the City, and the only instance, for many reigns, of an Heir Apparent going there on such occasion.

(Bury and Norwich Post, 14th April, 1802)

Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Yesterday John Hawkins, an extra constable, was charged before the LORD MAYOR with concealing a diamond drop, which he found at the Mansion House on Monday night, at the Easter Ball, the property of the Duchess of GORDON, being part of a pair of elegant diamond ear-rings worn by her Grace that day, value above five hundred guineas, and for the recovery of which a reward was advertised.

Mrs. HORSFALL, of the Mansion House Coffee-house, stated, that she saw a constable have such an article in his possession that night, which he said he had picked up in the Mansion House, and described the man, from which circumstance he was discovered. The prisoner at first denied it, but the diamond drop being found, he pretended not to know the value of it. His Lordship, conceiving that he detained it with a felonious intent, fully committed him to take his trial for the same.

(Morning Post, 11th April, 1806)

And if you were attending such a Ball, then, as a fashionable lady, you would need to look your best.

THE EASTER BALL and GALA will be particularly grand in Honour of the Regency, and as the Ladies will appear with extreme lustre on this occasion, it certainly accounts for the present great demand for HUBERT’S ROSEATE POWDER, which effectually removes superfluous hairs on the face, neck and arms, and highly improves the whiteness, delicacy and softness of the skin, thus bestowing a new charm on natural beauty. – May be had of the Proprietor, 23 Russell-street, Covent-Garden; Rigge, 35, and Overton, 47, Bond-street; Dunnett, 3, Cheapside; Davison, 59, Fleet-street, Thorn, 45, Oxford-street; Bowling and Co. 38, Blackman-street, Borough; Harding and Co. 89, Pall-mall; and of all Perfumers. – 4s. and 7s.

(Morning Chronicle, 8th April, 1811)

And we end with the best Easter Gift, (although personally, as chocoholic’s, we’d rather have an Easter egg . . . ), and an Irish Easter cake.

The best Easter Gift, a present to a young Lady, is a Ticket in TOMKINS’S Picture Lottery; which are selling in New Bond-street at Three Guineas each; and a red ticket and a black ticket are sure to gain a prize.

(Morning Post, 25th April, 1821)

CURIOUS CUSTOM – In Ireland, at Easter, a cake, with a garland of meadow flowers, is elevated upon a circular board upon a pike, apples being stuck upon pegs around the garland. Men and women then dance round, and they who hold out longest win the prize.

(Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 17th December, 1825)

THE END

The Art of Defecating – Politely!

UNIVERSAL ADVICE:

In the course of a human life, cohabitation will inevitably occur once one’s children have reached young adulthood – but have not left home. One must quickly learn to adapt to the ways of others in order to create a harmonious and comfortable home for all those existing within. The simple tasks like washing the dishes, taking out the rubbish and checking to see if that’s a dead rat under the sink may come naturally for most. Respecting one another’s space and privacy while still maintaining a cordial, if not close friendship is a balancing act that requires an almost choreographed precision. Many pairings would have succeeded, were it not for their lack of ‘pooping’ etiquette.

This house party is lit.
Polite Society!

Poop etiquette is the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group while pooping. The following is to teach the ‘uneducated’ the best practices in common decency when defecating while living with people.

The Sounds

When a human relieves themselves of their built up fecal matter, some release animalistic sounds in the forms of grunts, moans, and “ughgodwhyyy?” When alone, one can freely release these sounds at whatever volume he or she chooses. However, if  company is at home, consider for a moment, how unnerving these sounds would be. As you hoot and holler your company on the other side of the wall is left wondering if there is anything they can do to help……… Please believe, there isn’t.

               Where are her frands?

 

Another technique to consider so as to drown out the cacophony of pooping would be to turn on the sink to buffer the sound of your hefty droppings splattering into the toilet bowl; or even the trumpet sounds of air being expelled from the bowels. That, (I must replace it) noisy ceiling fan would help even better – or try singing!

The Smell

Silent but deadly.
“I’m sorry. ‘Twas silent but deadly, madam.”

 

After stewing in one’s own stench for a while, human’s become impervious to the smell of their personal musty odours. However, that scent can carry throughout entire house or apartment, subjecting everyone and everything to the complete hell on earth. To prevent this, one should first, close the door – Always close the door! Secondly, spray beforehand. This saves you and whoever is in the smelling radius from being subjected to the funk of 40 thousand years. If that doesn’t work, light a cigar and open a window.

The Hygiene

She's doing it wrong.

Using up all of the toilet paper never goes well with the person who has to buy it. Sometimes, when one poops, wadding occurs – the younger you are the more you do it! Wadding is a scientific term for wrapping toilet paper around your hand 30x to protect the hand from contact with any fecal matter. Here, there is a common misconception that wadding will help clean your backside better because there is more toilet paper. That is FALSE. Save youself and your partner some money and some arguments and purchase a bidet which will afford the most thorough booty wash ever. Introducing the bidet to the household will adjust everyone’s way of approaching the way they poop, knowing that such an aid will cater for any bottom in the house.

The Clean-Up

Look at the size of that thing!

When one has completed their defecation ritual, it is customary to flush so that no skidmarks are left behind.. However, one flush may not be enough when there is a mountain of fudge deposited. Well, one must wash away any ‘leftovers’ from the toilet bowl with an extra flush – or get down on your knees and scrub!

By following this etiquette, everyone will thrive together in cohabitation, particularly young adults, just as long as they don’t date one another’s exes.

THE END

Sources:
https://hellotushy.com/blogs/the-posterior/pooping-101-the-art-defecating-with-roommates
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/08/in-pursuit-of-civility-by-keith-thomas-review

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE2

Local Delicacies!

By joemasonspage on March 9, 2018

The apple Norfolk Beauty was developed by crossing Warner’s King with a Waltham Abbey seedling. This large and very pretty, mild flavoured mid-season cooking apple was produced by the head gardener at Gunton Park in the nineteenth century. At around the same time the dessert apple Caroline was introduced at Blickling Hall Gardens in 1822. Both these apples are picked in early September. Another cooking variety is the Golden Noble, found in Downham Market by the Head Gardener at Stow Bardolph Hall in 1820. It is picked in early October and will keep till Christmas. The Norfolk Biffin (my preferred spelling – others are Beefing and Beffan) was first recorded in the seventeenth century. It is a tough skinned keeping apple that was used for producing dried apple rings. One of the apple’s claims to fame is its appearance in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

There are over 30 extant apple varieties that originated in Norfolk, and about twice that number that are known by name but have been lost. An orchard is recorded at Castle Acre Priory in the eleventh century, and new varieties of Norfolk apple were still being introduced nearly a thousand years later in the twentieth century, the most recent (Red Falstaff) being in 1989. The first named variety of apple to be mentioned in England was in the fourteenth century when a Norfolk farmer paid his rent with 200 pearmains and 4 hogshead of cider. Pearmains were obviously well known by then.

In contrast to the many local apples there are only two varieties of pear recorded as Norfolk’s own; the dessert pear Robin which has been known for centuries, and Hacon’s Incomparable, a culinary fruit. This seedling was propagated from a tree growing in a baker’s yard in Downham Market by a Mr Hacon in 1814. Robin pears should be eaten soon after picking in September, but the cooking pear will keep for up to six weeks after harvesting in mid October.

Around the North Norfolk coast other kinds of delicacy may be had. Samfer (as we locals spell it), or the more posh spelling samphire, grows along the muddy tideline all the way from Snettisham to Cley. In fact the plant is neither samfer nor samphire, which term is more properly applied to Crithmum maritimum, a kind of plant with white flowers that grows on rocky cliffs. This is probably the species mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear. The proper term for our samfer is Salicornia europaea or glasswort, so called from its medieval use in the making of glass. Whatever it’s called, it makes a tasty dish, in my opinion best served cold with vinegar. Also found along the sea-shore are mussels and Stewky Blues, cockles that are gathered from the rich black mud of Stiffkey. On a more commercial basis a fleet of cockle boats sails from the creek just north of the docks at Kings Lynn.

For the meat eaters among you, the Red Poll can trace its ancestry back to the Norfolk Red, a breed of beef cattle that is now extinct. The Red Poll is a dual purpose dairy and beef cow, and although originating in East Anglia, is now grown across the English-speaking world from New Zealand to the United States. While on the subject of local delicacies I should also mention the Suffolk sheep, which was raised primarily for its meat.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com